I had heard about the book Rules for My Unborn Son by Walker Lamond through his agent, of all things. Karen is a Twitter friend of mine and the agent for common friends of ours. When she tweeted about Walker's book, I was intrigued. It turns out that he has a popular blog and a large Twitter following. It is easy to see why this is the case; his Rules make you think, and often, make you laugh. I plowed through the book in an evening and found myself smiling, nodding, and giggling at some of them. I knew this book would be a great fit for the Daily Grommet crowd.
Walker is a completely amicable guy and was kind enough to answer my questions.
I'm sorry that you lost your Dad at the age of twenty-two. It's great that you've decided to write down the truths that you learned from him in an effort to preserve them. Are these "rules" he specifically told you, or did he simply live them out?
Mostly my father taught through his own example. He was a great dancer, a spiffy dresser, and behaved himself at the ballpark. He wasn't really a disciplinarian, instead his advice came in practical asides, like if you forget your pocket square, the corner of a bed sheet does the trick. But it was his consistency that made me realize that he was living his life by a certain code or set of rules--essentially the things that he believed made a Good Man.
I love that you use the term "modern gentlemen." It speaks of the respect that all people love to be shown without any of the negative connotations that people seem to associate with the word chivalry. Did you coin it yourself, or is it something passed down from your Dad?
I just wanted to make sure people didn't think this was just instructions on which fork to eat with at a fancy dinner. The word gentleman can get a bum rap because people mistakenly associate it with some outmoded concept of chivalry -- throwing your cape over a puddle and all that. But really being a gentleman is so much more than minding your manners -- it's about being adventurous and hard-working and curious and most of all, taking responsibility for the quality of your life.
When you branched out beyond the rules passed down from your Dad, did you find it hard to come across other quotes to include?
No, plenty of the rules come from my own experiences -- the good, bad and the ugly. All I have to do is look at a photo of myself in college to be reminded of what NOT to do.
I know that the title of your book is "Rules For My Unborn Son," but I can testify that most of the quotes apply to people in general -- male or female. Did you make a conscious effort to include rules for everyone or did you just find that classic truths apply to both men and women alike?
Honestly, I really did write these rules specifically for my own future son. It's a highly subjective and non-scientific list. I think the fact that the rules speak to both girls and boys says more about how alike we are these days and how similar our standards are for men and women. That's a good thing.
How did the book come about? Was it something that you pursued, or were you approached because of your website?
I always thought this stuff might look good on a coffee table, but I did not start the project with the intention of publishing a book. After a few months of posting the material online, a couple lit agents found it and eventually some publishers too. Lucky me.
You're on Twitter (like most of the rest of the world). Is Twitter something you enjoy being a part of, or is it something you feel like you have to do as part of your career?
I still try to update my website with new material so Twitter is just another convenient way for people to access it. It's also a great way to promote book signings and share other fun news like where you can buy the book. I rarely twitter about what I had for dinner. But I do like meeting people who read the blog and learning about what they are into. It's a great resource for new ideas, not to mention shopping tips. Kind of like a huge cocktail party. To just be a wallflower and not take advantage of that would be just silly.
I literally laughed out loud at many of the rules in the book. The old saying, "It's funny because it's true" comes into play with the rules you've included. Do you have a single favorite rule that stands out above the rest?
I don't have a favorite but there are rules that some men just can't abide. I'm always getting emails from dudes in California saying things like, "What do you mean I can't jog shirtless?" And Brooklyn kids still defend their ironic facial hair, but they'll come around.
Today, we have a copy of Walker's book to give away.
General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question for Walker. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive a copy of the book “Rules for My Unborn Son.” Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 9am EST through 10pm EST February 5, 2010.